Friday, December 22, 2006

Meeting the minimum requirements for an end-of-year post

I spent much of my career as a member of the "mainstream media," which, as you probably know, is run by a joint venture of Opus Dei and the Trilateral Commission. Now look, I appreciate the work those folks do -- manipulating world currencies, assassinating world leaders, choosing the winners of figure-skating competitions, etc. But the truth is I also find them to be real pains in the neck. They're sticklers for the rules. And as lifetime member of the "mainstream media ("You are not allowed to quit," they said one day over lunch at the Harvard Club. "It is forbidden") I have to meet certain obligations.
And one of those obligations, as I was reminded by the monk who arrived at my door last night at the stroke of midnight, is to participate in the End of Year ritual. Thus, I must produce and publish one of the following by New Year's Eve: my predictions for the upcoming year; a review of my predictions for the year now ending; my reflections on the celebrity deaths of this year; a "Best of ..." piece in which I refer to things I wrote earlier in the year; or a Top 10 list of any kind.

Now I've learned the hard way that you can't mess with the folks who make the rules. So I have to do something before an enforcer slips something into my drink and I wind up with a case of writers block, or worse, carpal tunnel syndrome.
So here it is:

My Top 10 list of things related to predictions, old blog posts and celebrity deaths.

1. It was about this time last year when Folio magazine was kind enough to ask for my predictions about media in 2006. In at least one area, I was right. I told Folio that "More journalists will recognize there is much to learn from the citizen-journalism movement and will adopt the most compelling features of the blogging culture. Feedback functions will appear on numerous sites. Agnostic linking—pointing to items produced by competitors—will become more common."
It's sort of funny now to look back and remember how rare this stuff was just a year ago. But time passes. Things change.

2. I also told Folio that "At least one major journalism school will announce an end to track education. Students will study reporting and storytelling in a media-neutral environment. The idea of obtaining a degree limited to broadcast journalism or print journalism will seem increasingly silly."
I'll give myself half-credit for that one. Certainly it does seem increasingly silly to prepare journalism students to work in a single medium. And that may explain why I, of all people, have been asked to speak at this year's College Media Advisers Convention.
But no journalism school abandoned track teaching this least as far as I know. Yet it's worth noting that a number of schools continue to drift in that direction. Also, just about every major j-school seems to be running ads such as this one.

3. Speaking of links, among the blog posts I'm most proud of this year are those in which I tried to ensure that the prediction I made in item #1 would come true by complaining about publishers who just didn't get the "idea" of linking. That's because bit by bit, one by one, even some of the die-hards of old media began to respond.

4. Speaking of responding, let me take a moment here to again thank the folks at VNU for responding to my call that they pull back from their recent foray into unethical behavior. I'm very proud of the small role I played in helping end that foolishness.

5. Speaking of that foolishness, I predict we'll see similar screw-ups again in 2007. I'm quite sure that at least once next year I'll point a finger at some publisher for violating ethical standards.

6. When Bob Hope passed away earlier this year, it was if we had lost not just a great entertainer, but a close friend. Thanks for the memories, Bob.

7. Speaking of hope, I hope that my prediction in item #5 will turn out to be wrong.

8. Speaking of predictions, at least one reader of this blog will post a comment noting that item #6 is wrong and that Bob Hope actually died in 2003. This reader will say that I am either an incompetent who cannot get his facts straight, or a cynic who pokes fun at the dead.

9. Speaking of cynicism, I think item # 7 is naive and ridiculous. Of course item # 5 will come true.

10. Speaking of naive and ridiculous, this blog will be back in 2007.

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  1. Paul,
    Bob Hope died in 2003, not 2006. Either you're an incompetent who cannot get his facts straight, or a cynic who pokes fun at the dead.
    Fr. Ignatius Spinoza, S.J.

  2. Hi Father,
    Thanks for your comment.
    You're right. Bob died in 2003. I guess the pain just seems so fresh and recent.
    At any rate, thanks for reading the blog.
    And I'll see you at next month's meeting at the Harvard Club!

  3. Actually, I think Hope died before that but was in a freezer somewhere in Palm Springs for a few years -- however, I digress. Thanks for your keen insight and I look forward to what you have to say in 2007 and beyond.

  4. Interesting blog. I too think that the business of NEWS will change grately very soon. The Person of the year declaration of TIME megazine recently indicates to that end.

  5. You failed to mention the Rosicrucians, Paul. Justice will be swift. :-)


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